Date: Tue, 16 Jun 98 01:45:25 CDT
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Nicaraguan National Assembly shutdown
Weekly News Update on the Americas, #436, 7 June 1998
On June 4, opposition members of Nicaragua's National Assembly agreed to rejoin the Assembly on June 9, ending a walkout that began on June 1. The 93-member Assembly has been unable to reach a quorum without the presence of the 36 Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) deputies, 13 representatives of minority parties, and eight dissident Liberals who last week split from President Arnoldo Aleman's ruling Liberal Alliance coalition [see Update #435]. FSLN bench head Victor Hugo Tinoco said at the time, "We're not going to make a quorum until they accept discussing a new legislative agenda with a social character which benefits the population." He said he believed there was a chance to form a majority which would legislate "in favor of the people." Eliseo Nunez, formerly head of the Liberal bench before he created the new "Liberal bench for Dignity and Change," agreed with Tinoco and asked the executive board to negotiate with the other political forces in the Assembly.
Under the agreement reached between the opposition parties and the Assembly's executive board, when the Assembly reconvenes it will discuss not only laws designed to comply with the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) strongly promoted by Aleman, but also alternative proposals from the opposition. In addition, three new commissions will be created: one for modernization of the laws governing the Assembly itself; one to revise and study the civil service law; and one to investigate drug trafficking. Plus, there will be monthly meetings between the executive board and the heads of the various benches to discuss proposals for a social agenda. Tinoco said the agreement did not include any compromises involving legislation coming up for approval in the short term, and restated that the FSLN will oppose laws related to implementing the ESAF, particularly proposed increases in energy, water and phone taxes. [Popol Na Bulletin #21, 6/5/98; La Nacion (Costa Rica) from AFP 6/4/98]
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